The 2024 Drone Photo Awards Capture a Striking Overview of Global Struggle

a shepherd in a brown coat and gray hat puts his arms across a flock of brown sheep that fill the entirety of the frame

Ivo Danchev. “Shepherd Nikola poses with his small herd of the endangered Karakachani sheep breed, one of the very few remaining full-blooded herds that have survived after the Balkan tribe, the Karakachani, were forced to abandon their nomadic lifestyle and relinquish their livestock by the communist regime.” All photos © the photographers, courtesy of Siena Awards, shared with permission

From magnificent natural wonders to human destruction on multiple fronts, the nominees of the 2024 Drone Photo Awards offer a sweeping overview of the state of the world. The annual contest by Siena Awards asks photographers to zoom out and provide new perspectives on global happenings, capturing conflict, devastation, and beauty at all scales.

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Among this year’s nominees are stunning aerial images glimpsing brilliant swirls of a Massachusetts cranberry bog and flamingoes soaring above a verdant body of water. There’s more difficult subject matter, too, as photographer Ivo Danchev frames a shepherd desperately protecting his endangered sheep and Carol Guzy documenting a fraction of the heartbreaking losses in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The winners will be announced at the Siena Awards Festival this fall. Until then, find all of this year’s nominees on the contest website.


a swirl of pink and red in a field with two people standing in the midst

Brad Weiner. “Cranberries are native to Massachusetts, with numerous cranberry bogs dotting the southeastern region of the state. These berries are harvested using either wet or dry techniques. Using his drone, Brad captured a stunning bird’s-eye view of the annual fall harvest, showcasing the beauty and abundance of this seasonal event.”

two people stand near a line of black body bags at a cemetary

Carol Guzy. “Body bags of people recovered from a mass grave are lined up at a cemetery as investigators begin the grim task of assessing evidence of war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 9, 2022. Wreckage of war and bodies littered the streets, recently liberated from Russian occupation.”

a small strip of red and orange lava in the center of a charred black expanse

Daniel Viñé Garcia. “During one of Daniel’s visits to the Fagradalsfjall volcano, he saw it stop erupting. At that time, the volcano would be active for several hours a day before going dormant for hours. As the volcano emitted its final bursts of activity, the aerial view captured by the drone reminded Daniel of a tongue.”

two polar bears curl up in the ice

Florian Ledoux. “As the sun set over the mountain slope, a male and female polar bear lay together, having just completed their courtship ritual. In this tender and intimate moment, they soon fell asleep, exhausted but content in each other’s company.”

small birds fly above a swirling green expanse

Silke Hullmann. “Large flocks of flamingos dance above the mesmerizing green water surface, their beauty and elegance evoking a smile.”

an abstract tree like image in greens, browns, and blues

Isabella Tabacchi. “An aerial view of nature’s artistry in Iceland’s highlands. Grooves, rivers, and vegetation converge to form a tree-like pattern, showcasing nature’s creativity as it paints an intricate artwork against the rugged Icelandic landscape.”

a smaller shark approaches a massive whale in the ocean

Toby Nicol. “Over the span of approximately four days, a massive sperm whale remained stranded on the shores of Perth until it perished around 4:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. This photo was taken the day after when a tiger showed up to do nature’s work.”

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